Blue Ridge Marathon canceled amid coronavirus concerns

Cancellation also includes shorter runs and the Down by Downtown music festival

ROANOKE, Va. – The Blue Ridge Marathon has been cancelled for 2020 due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus.

The Roanoke Outside Foundation made the announcement Monday, citing new CDC recommendations regarding mass gatherings and large events.

The cancellation also includes the related, shorter runs, as well as the Down by Downtown music festival.

It is with a very heavy heart that we announce the cancellation of Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon Race Weekend. https://www.blueridgemarathon.com/covid-19-updates/

Posted by Blue Ridge Marathon on Monday, March 16, 2020

Below is the statement from the organizers.

It is with a very heavy heart that we announce the cancellation of Blue Ridge Marathon Race Weekend and the Elmwood Park portions of the Down by Downtown music festival.

Over the weekend the CDC released new recommendations for “mass gatherings or large events” which include the cancellation of events with more than 50 people for the next eight weeks.

This race, started by a group of volunteers who felt their hometown needed a marathon, has grown into an event that is helping build a better community. It is the primary revenue generator for the Roanoke Outside Foundation and its only employee, Julia Boas. This event allows us to further our mission of improving access to the outdoors for all.

As a homegrown event that shares revenue with 15 nonprofits, we are not sure we can weather a scenario in which every runner defers until next year. Our appeal to you is to “run virtually” or “donate” in support of our small boutique race.

While no refunds will be issued (view the terms you agreed to upon registration), you have three options:

1. Donate Your Entry and Feel Good About It: You can do nothing. We will mail you a receipt noting your tax-deductible donation to the Roanoke Outside Foundation, and you get to know that you’re helping keep a small race going into the future. If you opt for the “virtual run” or defer you will not receive a donation receipt.

2. Run Virtually: You’ve trained for this race so, for this year only, we will offer a “virtual race” category that allows you to run at your convenience. We hope to still have some festivities associated with the virtual race, including both a physical and virtual finish line. You have until April 13 to switch to the “virtual race” and May 4 to complete your run — to switch, go to https://myevents.active.com/ and select “Purchase Merchandise.” Virtual race details can be found here.

3. Defer to April 17, 2021: Defer your race entry to 2021 by April 2 - to defer go to https://myevents.active.com/ and select “Change Event.”

You have until:

• April 2 to defer your entry to April 17, 2021

• April 13 to switch to the “virtual race”

• Do nothing and your entry fee will be donated

The Down by Downtown music festival, which coincides with race weekend, has also been canceled. There will be no concerts at Elmwood Park on Friday, April 17 and Saturday, April 18.

Thank you for your support and understanding.

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